Selangor Journal
The Parliament building of Malaysia. — Picture by BERNAMA

Dewan Negara passes three bills

KUALA LUMPUR, April 2 — The Dewan Negara has approved the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Amendment) Bill 2023, the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters (Amendment) Bill 2023, and the Highway Authority Malaysia (Incorporation) (Amendment) Bill 2023 today.

The amendment to the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia Act 1999 was approved with a greater number of affirmative votes following discussions involving 11 Senate members.

When winding up the debate, Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Law and Institutional Reform) M. Kulasegaran said the amendments aim to fortify the Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) for Malaysians’ benefit.

Suhakam would not function like other enforcement agencies, including the Royal Malaysia Police or the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), which are empowered under their respective Acts.

“However, despite not having an enforcement role and not directly empowered with enforcement authority, in carrying out its responsibilities, Suhakam always collaborates with other government agencies on human rights issues,” he said.

In addition, Kulasegaran announced that the Prime Minister would decide on Suhakam members’ allowances, which would correspond to their part-time responsibilities.

“The Legal Affairs Division (BHEUU) is preparing a new allowance framework for Suhakam members, pending consideration by the Finance Ministry and the Public Service Department (JPA),” he said.

On the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters (Amendment) Bill, the amendment aims to enhance the provisions of Act 621 to facilitate assistance in criminal matters between Malaysia and other countries.

Kulasegaran said the bill includes procedures for admitting evidence in court under Section 90F of the Evidence Act 1950, aiming to resolve challenges in obtaining documents for domestic cases like overseas financial transactions.

Meanwhile, during the winding up debate on the Highway Authority Malaysia (Incorporation) (Amendment) Bill 2023, Deputy Works Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan emphasised its goal to streamline and bolster the Malaysian Highway Authority’s (LLM) operations in line with present demands, enabling LLM to generate income.

The Dewan Negara sitting continues tomorrow.

— Bernama

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